Open Space Seattle:2100

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Climate Change = Very Vigorous Vines

The fact that climate change (and human impacts in general) are having an impact on the natrual world is well documented, but the fact that it is, literally, overgrowing our backyards increasingly becoming apparent. This article from the Washington Post is utterly fascinating.

"From backyard gardens to the Amazon rain forest, vines are growing faster, stronger and, in the case of poison ivy, more poisonous on the heavy doses of carbon dioxide that come from burning such fossil fuels as gasoline and coal."

"Fifteen years ago, kudzu" -- known as the vine that ate the South -- "would not survive in the D.C. area," Bergmann said, because the climate was too cold. "Now it survives even up in New York."

Yet, might those same juiced up plants also hold the key toward solving, at least in part, climate change?

But the vines also hint at a tantalizing solution to global warming: Perhaps scientists can engineer a plant that would absorb extraordinary amounts of carbon dioxide and clean the air without throwing forests wildly off kilter.

"It's quite imaginable that we could make an oak tree [that is] more efficient at trapping carbon dioxide for us," Drake said. "But until we know a lot more about how each species responds, we can't make solid predictions."


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